Rest in Peace, My Phone FriendA Story by Melissa Lynn Cox
I heard today that a mom I know died leaving her 8 year old son behind.
I heard today that a mom I know died. She just died. She had an 8 year old son and she died. I am a secretary at an elementary school and have talked to this mom on the phone at least once a week for the last three years. The first year, she called defensive and upset and usually aggressive. It was my first year at my job and she caused me quite a lot of grief. She was kind of nuts with lots of crazy ideas about what went on in school. She believed everything that her son told her and she usually made it out to be the very worse case scenario. She was impossible to get off the phone! The second year, my principal talked to us about making deposits in other's "emotional bank accounts". With this challenge in mind, I would engage this mom every time she called. I gave her my full attention even though it was the last thing I wanted to do at the end of the day. It didn't take long for her to tell the difference and call without the added aggression. I would sympathize with her and tell her that I could see her point of view. I don't know if anyone had ever tried to see her point of view before. You see she was not attractive and was suspicious and could be a little squirrelly. She was often demanding and accusatory. She was poor and she to say she was rough around the edges is an understatement. But she changed before my eyes (ears, really). The third year found us friends at least on the phone. She called asking smart questions and began to respect how the school system worked even when it didn't favor her son who she finally admitted was a handful. A lot of afternoons, she would call and ask "did ya' hear what he did today?" We would talk about the challenges of parenting and I would sometimes advise her as to her options--just mom to mom. Most of the time, I just listened and told her that I respected her concerns and efforts. Late in the year, her son developed some serious health and learning issues and she was determined to help him as best she could. You need to know that she put forth ten times more effort to understand her son than most parents at my school. She spent a lot of time and energy trying to understand what his teacher expected and made a genuine effort to meet those expectations. She was trying so hard to be a good mom. She really was. But she died. I talked to a good friend of mine and she said that maybe this mom couldn't have helped her son as he grew older because of her mental limitations and station in life. That is probably true. I was also thinking that she left her son with a very positive and loving impression of who his mom was. In a couple of years, he would have noticed that his mom was a little nutty and he may not think of her as the hero to his story. Now, she will forever be the loving mom in his heart and mind. That's important. We all need a loving mom even if it's only in our mind's imagination. My own mother was far from perfect and spent the majority of my life drunk. She died when I was thirty and old enough to be forever hurt by her addiction and issues. I was left to mourn the mom she was and the mom she should have been. She was the hero until I was twelve and up until that time, I knew that my momma loved me and that was enough. Then, things changed for me and the way I thought about my momma. I pray that this child will forever remember that his mom really loved him and gave him her best. I pray that is enough. I wish I could have thanked his mom for becoming my friend and teaching me how to treat others, a lesson that I will never forget. Rest in peace, my phone friend.
© 2010 Melissa Lynn Cox
Melissa Lynn Cox
AboutBorn in 1967--you will have to do the math. I can't remember for the life of me how old I am. Mother of three daughters that keep me laughing and guessing. Mother of 2 cats and 2 dogs and one illeg.. more..
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